Respect the Process

Respect the process? WTF are you talking about, Big Red?

Big Red Car here supervising the plumbers. Saturday plumbers always require a lot of supervision, but, hey, so what?

There is a new soaking tub going in and the plumbing change is quite extensive. They are doing work below the second floor and above the first floor ceiling – makes me a little nervous.

So, I’m melding a lot of recent conversations with CEO clients. They are all smart and hardworking, but, sometimes, not often, but, sometimes, they don’t stick to their knitting.

They don’t respect the process.


This creates problems which they then fix consuming twice as much time as if they had just respected the process in the first place.


When starting a company, take comfort that it has been done a few times before — OK, maybe not by you, good point, but by others who have lived through the experience. Still, it has been done and many times there is a way to do it which does not require you to re-invent the wheel at full tuition.

Here are a few things which may have an “approved solution” out there which can save time and effort. Not in any degree of importance and not a comprehensive list.

 1. Planning the enterprise – creating a coherent Vision, Mission, Strategy, Tactics, Objectives. This has all been done before. Find out and “monkey see, monkey do” it.

You will be glad you did.

 2. Beginning the development of your culture – codifying your values and drafting your employee standards handbook. Again, bit of monkey see, monkey do will work here. Sure, you can wait until you have five employees, but you have to do it before you have 25 employees.

 3. Organizing the human element – creating a dollar weighted org chart with 3-6 month variations, drafting Job Descriptions/Basis of Employment docs for each position. Again, monkey see, monkey do.

This is where this process stuff begins to work together, because you have the ability to coordinate your Objectives with the Job Descriptions/Basis of Employment docs.

 4. Planning out your prototype, alpha test, beta test, MVP, launch – both schedules and resource allocation.

 5. Fundraising – creating your pitch deck, formulating elevator/taxi/boardroom pitches, developing a useful Business Engine Canvas, developing a comprehensive target list.

 6. Constructing your Board of Directors – write up a Board Charter, identify your subcommittees, write up subcommittee charters. This is a very important thing that startups fail to do.

Of course, all of this is being done while you are trying to stand up a company and develop a product.

There will be many folks who will say that you should just drive on and ignore process. Fair play to that, but there is a better, more organized way – rent the experience of people who have done this before.

The Tough Things

Do you recall this post about the things that a CEO will eventually have to deal with?

CEOs — Doing Tough Things Shoptalk

Do you remember the List of Horribles?

Horribles — the List of Horribles

This is an example of how to construct a one-off, on-the-fly process to deal with a real problem. It is an example of letting the process make your hand steadier, your aim sharper, and your execution fiercer.

Respect the process!

Retired four star General John F Kelly, Chief of Staff of the White House: “Respect the damn process! Believe me, I know how hard it is to get people to respect the process, but you’ll be glad you did. Trust me.”

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car.